The Connecticut Huskies had yet to even win their national championship and the wheels were in motion for a crazy offseason in the Big East. It started with Ed Cooley making the stunning move from Providence to Georgetown. Rick Pitino then landed at St. John’s and the Friars replaced Cooley with up-and-coming coach Kim English.
However it isn’t just the coaches that are setting up for crazy storylines this upcoming season. The transfer portal has created a new normal in college basketball with a plethora of college basketball talent changing schools yearly.
- Naheim Alleyne- Instead of trying to repeat as national champions with the Huskies he joined Rick Pitino and the Red Storm.
- Posh Alexander & Dylan Addae-Wusu were seemingly pushed out at St. John’s and decided to transfer within the league with Posh going to Butler and Addae-Wusu to Seton Hall
The NBA Draft decisions also played a big role in offseason storylines.
- Marquette had their second straight year of a guy leaving early for the draft, with last season Justin Lewis leaving, and Olivier Maxance-Prosper this season. The Golden Eagles have shown a next man up mentality, having super sub David Joplin certainly helps bridge that gap.
- UConn’s run to a national title came with a cost of attrition. Jordan Hawkins was expected to leave but losing Andre Jackson and Adama Sanogo hurts. They did get the return of Tristen Newton to lighten the blow. They then would add Cam Spencer from Rutgers to replace some of Hawkins shooting.
- Creighton has had a rollercoaster offseason and draft decisions certainly played a role. Baylor Scheierman announced his return to college hoops early but Kalkbrenner, Kaluma and Alexander waited until the final hours. All three decided to return to school but Kaluma elected to transfer. Also electing to transfer was Andrew Nembhard, who is now at Gonzaga. Coach McDermott was able to plug that hole quickly with Utah St transfer Steven Ashworth, who figures to fit into the Blue Jays system nicely.
After all the shuffle of coaches and players this off-season the biggest winner appears to be the conference itself. While the conference did lose some talent many teams return cores from successful squads last season and with an influx of portal additions and a good incoming freshman class the talent is there. The league features a potential seven schools that can hear their names called on selection Sunday with some having aspirations for a week or two after that. The conference has so many intriguing storylines that should attract a national audience. Can UConn repeat as national champions? How about Marquette being a repeat double champ in the league? With a healthy Justin Moore and some portal additions will Villanova be back? Can Rick Pitino pull off a Deion Sanders at SJ? And how about them Friars in the Kim English era? How will Ed Cooley’s return to Providence go? I think you get the point by now the league is a loaded with talent and stories that the Crier can’t wait to watch.